Perfume’s SXSW Spectacle

I’ve seen Perfume do some amazing things with projection in their concerts, from “edge” on the first world tour to “Magic of Love” on NHK’s New Year’s Eve Kohaku to a very different mix of “Spending All My Time” at the London performance on their second world tour. They upped the ante with “DISPLAY” for their fifth domestic tour in 2014 (as I suspected would be the case when I first heard the piece on the “Cling Cling” EP). But none of these come close to what they presented last week at SXSW. To accompany a new song called “Story,” the girls danced amidst a cyber-infused three-dimensional landscape whose incredible presentation on video can’t possibly compare to what it must have been like in person.

WIRED has great background information that you can read here, but in short this is an elaborate 3D projection project involving Elevenplay’s Mikiko, Rhizomatiks’s Daito Manabe, and Kaoru Sugano of Dentsu, Japan’s goliath ad agency.

Amazingly, the video below was actually shot live—it’s not CG done in post. I can’t imagine how cool this would be to witness from inside the hall. Watch for Kashiyuka, NOCCHi, and A-CHAN behind semi-translucent screens upon which a dynamic projection mapping system casts visuals. You only actually see the girls clearly for a few moments, mainly in the more melodic section starting at the 4:03 mark; but they’re actually there the whole time.

For more details on the technical side, check out that WIRED article I mentioned. But visually this highlights why Perfume is possibly the coolest act in Japanese music, and why they’re one of the very few Japanese groups who have had success in Europe and the States